Parliamentary Secretary for Education Gareth Ward MP is today urging local Aboriginal people across our region to apply for a scholarship that will support them in studying a bachelor level early childhood teaching qualification.
Mr Ward said that the Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Scholarship program will complement ongoing training and leadership opportunities designed to support Aboriginal educators working in the early childhood sector across the Illawarra and South Coast.
“It is absolutely crucial Aboriginal culture is embedded in early childhood education and this scholarship investment will encourage more of that,” he said.
“Currently, less than 10 per cent of Aboriginal staff working in NSW preschools have a bachelor degree or above, compared to the NSW average of more than 30 per cent.
“This investment by the NSW Government aims to close the gap for degree-qualified professionals across the Illawarra and South Coast.
“The Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Scholarships program will offer 15 scholarships per year of up to $20,000 each, with the funding going towards costs incurred during studying such as travel, technology and textbooks,” Mr Ward said.
The NSW Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said that the scholarships will also go beyond financial assistance, with the NSW Government committing to supporting scholarship recipients throughout their studies by linking them with mentoring programs and other support.
“Through the scholarship program and additional mentoring and support, NSW can look forward to seeing more Aboriginal students successfully joining the early childhood education workforce,” she said.
“All children in NSW deserve the best start to their education, and we need a diverse and highly skilled workforce to achieve that,” Ms Mitchell said.
Applications for the Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Scholarships program opened on Saturday 1st September and will close on Friday 7th December 2018.